Pakistani Cleric 'Gives Away Babies' in Honor of Ramadan
Ramadan is always a highly competitive time for TV ratings in the Muslim world.
After fasting during the day, Muslim families get together each night for 30 days to break their fast with the traditional iftar meal. During these family get-togethers, TV ratings tend to increase dramatically - as do the lengths some presenters will go towards to up their ratings.
This year, one TV cleric is trying to gain his share of the Ramadan viewing figures through a unique prize give away.
The prize? Babies.
The British Telegraph reported Wednesday that Aamit Liaquat Hussain has given away two abandoned babies so far, in what he insists is actually an act of kindness to childless couples.
"This is the beautiful girl who was thrown on a pile of garbage by somebody. See how beautiful and innocent she is," he declared, showing the baby girl to the camera.
Hussain is no stranger to controversy. In 2008 he hosted a show with other Islamic clerics in which he declared that members of the Ahmadi minority Muslim sect "deserved to die" as heretics.
During his religious-orientated programs, viewers constantly call in to donate money.
Bina Shah, a Pakistani writer based in Karachi, where the programme was filmed, condemned it as "the worst violation of media ethics I can think of."
"It just speaks to the commercialization of everything in Pakistani society including religion," she said.
Producers of the show could not be reached for comment.
Some Middle Eastern media observers, however, may fail to see what all the fuss is about, given the use of prime-time Ramadan TV slots to air virulently antisemitic TV shows in the Arab world.